Throughout her 18 years dancing with Boston Ballet, Larissa Ponomarenko performed classical and contemporary roles with ease and elegance. But offstage, she was just as entrancing. During my years as a student at Boston Ballet School, I remember my classmates and myself peeking into her rehearsals, gawking at the effortlessness of each step. We knew it came from her Vaganova training, but still couldn’t believe her precision. Though she is often overlooked, Ponomarenko is a cherished icon for many.
After retiring from the stage in 2011, she continues to bring polished technique and impeccable musicality as a ballet master for Boston Ballet. To honor her work in the classical realm, here is a clip of her at the start of her career as a principal, performing the Act III variation from Don Quixote. The beginning is deceptively simple (every dancer knows how hard those passé relevés are) but showcases her clean lines and artistry—not to mention that famous fouetté finish!